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It’s one thing to go carbon net-zero and another to go net-negative. This means not only eliminating 100% of carbon emissions from the atmosphere but going beyond that and removing even more. Global consultancy and private equity firm Bain & Company plans to do this every year.

The New York-based firm has committed to achieving a net-negative status on an annual basis starting this year. For this purpose, the firm will focus on nature-based projects, such as reforestation and direct carbon capture. This will help remove more than 100% of its 2021 Scope 1, 2, and 3 greenhouse gas emissions.

Photo Courtesy Miguel A. Amutiomi

Bain will be using an external third party to calculate the GHG footprint of carbon removal projects in line with the CarbonNeutral Protocol. The protocol is an open-source standard developed by businesses to create a practical guide to carbon neutrality. It is based on leading independent standards for greenhouse gas accounting.

So, instead of supporting projects that avoid future emissions, Bain will help those that actively remove carbon from the atmosphere. This year, it’s already participated in seven such projects, such as reforestation projects in Mexico, China, Guatemala, and Ghana, as well as forest management projects in the United States and Uruguay. The company also plans to buy carbon offset credits in partnership with Sylvera, Natural Capital Partners, and 3Degrees.

“Sustainability has become an imperative for us all. Environmental challenges are growing while timelines for addressing them are contracting,” said Manny Maceda, Bain’s worldwide managing partner in a letter on the company’s website. “For that reason, we will continue to embed sustainability into our overall firm strategy, our client communications, and our procurement practices.”

Bain has been at the forefront of sustainability within its industry for over ten years. In 2011, it was the first consulting firm to become 100% certified carbon neutral. In 2020, it signed the Business Ambition for a 1.5 degree Celsius commitment and set a target to be net-zero by 2030. It also became a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact. 

Over the past 11 years, Bain has reduced its Scope 1 and 2 direct emissions by 84 percent. It achieved this by improving energy efficiency in its offices and converting to 100% renewable electricity.

Photo Courtesy Andreas Gucklhorn

In addition to its commitment to decarbonization, Bain has been diligently at work on social responsibility and other ESG issues. Last year, it launched a new model of leadership and collaboration to create a more sustainable, inclusive, and equitable world. The initiative aims to accelerate the energy transition, promote circularity, end waste, transform food systems, catalyze ESG investing, meet consumer expectations on ESG, and transform organizations.

Bain has also committed to investing $1 billion in pro-bono consulting work over the next ten years. Part of this commitment is partnering with The Nature Conservancy to create solutions for tackling climate change.

“Our clients are facing increasing and often existential demands around sustainability, social impact, and diversity, equity, and inclusion,” said François Faelli, Bain’s global managing partner for ESG. “Together, we can create new engines for business growth and exciting opportunities for employees while having transformative impact on communities.”

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